One of our most interactive and well-attended sessions this year was our Women’s Leadership Panel in October 2019. The audience and panel alike had open, honest and critical dialogue around supporting mentoring and helping to further advance women in the workplace. We've created a mini blog series to discuss the four topics that were dug into; Structure Around Promotion and Advancement, Getting Your Leadership to Buy-In, Engagement and Why It Matters for Women, and Mentors and Sponsors. Today, we will be focusing on Engagement and Why It Matters for Women.
Getting a pulse on your organization is a great way to find out how the company views matters like women in leadership and organizational diversity. There are many resources that are available for surveying individuals within a company. A survey uncovers the strong areas versus the weaker areas that need improvement regarding culture. That combined with having conversations with leadership and asking the hard questions is how you see whether there are structures in the workplace that put women at a disadvantage. Though they can be subtle, they’re not uncommon. Doing regular HR check-ins with employees also increases engagement and allows for another outlet for women within a company to express their wants and needs at the workplace. Everyone should want to come to work, but low engagement from certain populations within a company is a red flag, pointing at the fact that not everyone is being cared for in the way they need. In general, there are certain types of questions that an HR representative can ask that helps them understand an employee’s engagement. The questions are centered around what their goals are and whether they understand the direction in which the company is going. These check-ins allow employees to gain some perspective on what could make them more successful.
Additionally, a great bridge from an engagement survey to tangible change is training. Follow-up and action items are extremely important after uncovering the engagement level within a company. These days, most employees are not interested in 3-4 hour long training sessions. Employees prefer videos that they can watch at any time, and in short increments. This has been identified as micro-learning which continues to grow in popularity. Employees also prefer variety. This is important when an organization is prioritizing proper communication of new information. Jill spoke to this, mentioning the four generations within her office, and the need for variety in communication so everyone in the company gets the same information in a way they’ll best understand.
Women Get Things Done
The biggest piece of advice that the panelists emphasized, especially to young women who are just entering the workplace, is to remember that you’re more qualified than you think. Young women today are hard workers and need a place to showcase their strong work ethic. The group spoke about how women need to stop disqualifying themselves and stop apologizing for their needs – and perhaps apologizing in general. They emphasized the importance of speaking to girls in middle and high school and teaching them how to grow their confidence. Daughters see their working moms get things done both at home and at work, and this, in turn, affects how they perceive their own capabilities. The workforce is starting to embrace women in leadership and seeing the positive impact they have on companies and culture. Companies who provide women a seat at the table will continue to pave the way for female leaders now and into the future.
Where to Get Training for Leaders
Engagement (Surveys and other tools)
Saba (used to be Hallogen)
First, Break All the Rules by Jim Harter, Marcus Buckingham and Gallup